Manny Villar Jr. a Philippine Presidentiable Controversy Collections.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And still, ‘mahirap’

MANUEL VILLAR HAD A MOST INTERESTING answer to the pile of evidence that they were never poor and that his kid brother did not die because they were poor.

His brother, he said, was in fact rushed to FEU because it was an emergency, and nobody thinks about expense during an emergency. But he was taken in as a charity patient. He died in any case because they could not afford the cost of his treatment. Their house in Tondo was so small all nine of them slept side by side on a single mat under a single mosquito net. That was what made his father take out a loan from the GSIS to buy the property in San Rafael payable in 20-25 years.

Even if these were true, and they can be easily disproven (except for the part where they all slept on a single mat, which only they can say), none of it makes things better, it makes them worse. They speak of values, or scale of priorities, or sense of proportion that do not commend him for president.

At the very least, why the utter powerlessness in the face of getting a brother cured, or at least in getting treatment for him, and the sudden powerfulness in the face of getting a house built? If you can secure a loan for a house payable in 20-25 years, why can’t you secure a loan for hospitalization payable in a lifetime? What kind of sense of values or scale of priorities is that?

The loan from the GSIS is already a dead giveaway. If you’re poor, you have no access to institutions like the GSIS. Access is one of the definitions of not-poor. Certainly access to government institutions is not a feature to be found among the dirt poor, which is how the bearded, motorcycle-riding, pistol-toting, “5-6” loan shark became a feature of the landscape. Even if you did manage to apply to the GSIS, the chances even then of getting a housing loan from it if you’re really dirt poor are, well, about the same chances as that story that Manny Villar really came from poor is true.

This thing particularly resonates with me because I know whereof he speaks. I do come from poor. We rented a tiny place in Naga City for P15 a month, and its ceiling was so low the American Jesuit who visited us had to stoop at the doorway to get in. We slept on a single mat under a single mosquito net, which was fine in the rain but not altogether pleasant in summer, notwithstanding that the temperature in the province, being smog-free, tended to fall drastically at night.

When my younger brother got polio, we all rushed to Manila to get him cured. We had nothing to sell, which is why I understand the full meaning of that word “proletarian,” whose fundamental condition is having no property. At least the Villars had their house in Tondo which they could have sold if it came to that. By dint of my father borrowing from kin and friend and taking advances on his pay, and by dint of him vowing as well to make a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for whatever help she could give, my brother recovered. Not completely, he still suffers from a limp, but he recovered. My father honored the vow he made to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, completely wholly despite the cure being arguably partial (he was not one to bargain with Providence) dragging me along every Wednesday late afternoon to the Naga Cathedral (“Why me?”) for it.

It’s called resolve, it’s called resourcefulness, it’s called dedication.

A friend not quite incidentally texted me the other day to say, “How can you be poor and study in the Ateneo de Manila?” In my case, simple. I did not pay a single centavo for it, a whole slew of scholarships did. In fact I not only did not pay a single centavo for it, I brought home a few pesos saved from my allowance by dint of eating bread with marmalade as palaman for supper. What can I say? I was brilliant then as I am now. Which allowed me to escape a lifetime of poverty, in more ways than one: I not only escaped the crushing physical poverty of want, I escaped the even more crushing spiritual poverty of need. That is the need for more and more money, whatever it takes, which is a far more impoverished state than the Grapes-of-Wrath kind.

Which brings me to the Pandora’s Box Villar has opened by his insistence on waging a campaign based on his claims of knowing the poor. Because even if you grant that he was so, then all he did was to escape the poverty of want by embracing the poverty of need. The need to accumulate more and more lands and titles and money than you can possibly use in a hundred lifetimes.

In my time, many of the brilliant poor, who were scholars in various universities, saw where they came from and decided they would devote themselves not just to rescuing themselves from that plight but to rescuing others from that plight. The teeming others stuck like flies in a flytrap to untold misery. They became activists.

Today, that is seen in the heroism of someone like Efren Peñaflorida who came from poor but decided not to become rich in ways Villar will understand but to give back to the poor and become rich in ways Villar won’t. There he is, opening the minds of the poor in narrow alleyways and spacious cemeteries with his kareton classroom.

All Villar did was, well, the same thing Lucio Tan did, and Lucio Tan has a far more valid claim to having once been poor, having true bote-dyaryo origins. You do not become a billionaire by sympathizing with the poor, you become a billionaire by screwing the poor. By selling cigarettes as a cancerous crony, by resorting to diversions, extensions and outright dispossession of others long before you become a senator. Weren’t the activists who are now with him charging him not too long ago with land-grabbing?

Villar wasn’t just mahirap once, he remains mahirap today. So in ways that go beyond the pedestrian meaning of poor.

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Ad Lib

Ad Lib -- Greg B. Macabenta

Murphy’s law and Manny Villar
There’s an axiom in advertising that says, a great campaign can expose a bad product faster -- because it persuades people to try the product sooner and to find out how bad it is. It looks like this axiom is being proven true in the case of would-be-president-of-the-poor Manny Villar.

One of my closest friends in advertising created Villar’s OFW commercials when he was just beginning to water the seeds of his presidential campaign. Apparently, the creative strategy worked, because Villar began to close the gap with VP Noli de Castro who, at the time, appeared to be formidable as a "presidentiable" in all the public opinion surveys.

But on one of my visits to Manila, I learned that my pal had quit on Villar. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate the way Villar had hired a host of creative consultants and political advisers, armed with a variety of bright ideas that violated the cardinal rule for an effective campaign, namely, single-mindedness.

At any rate, Villar apparently listened to his new creative brain trust and, together, they came up with some very impressive commercials, based on some very bold claims, expressed in very memorable language.

To solidify Villar’s positioning as the "champion of the poor," they concocted the line, "Nanggaling sa hirap. Tumutulong sa mahihirap." (From the poor. Helping the poor.)

To portray him as the role model for the upward-striving masses, they attributed his rise "from poor boy to billionaire" to "Sipag at Tiyaga." Industriousness and diligence. Yes, indeed, what better formula for success?

And to really, truly, effectively, dramatically, and memorably drive home the point, they created the gems: "Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura?" (Have you ever bathed in a sea of garbage?) and "Nakaranas na ba kayong...mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang perang pampagamot, wala ka namang magawa?" (Have you experienced the death of a sibling because you had no money for medicine and you could do nothing about it?"

No soap opera writer could have spun greater tearjerkers.

And that was not all. Armed with such fantastic creatives, Villar decided to make sure that every man, woman, and child in every corner of the archipelago would have an opportunity to see these products of communications and creative brilliance.

"Pour it on," Villar must have ordered his media buyers. "Saturate Wowwowwee. Tell Revillame to raffle off houses and bundles of cash. Shoot a Dolphy testimonial. Ask Pacquiao to sing a jingle."

And Villar must have added: "And do a pool of commercials starring me -- the poor boy who made good -- surrounded by the people I love. The POOR!!!"

Strangely, the one campaign theme that Villar’s creative and political consultants did not touch was the most obvious, for someone desiring to replace Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: what he would do about the much-reviled Arroyo upon assuming office. While his rivals all vowed to throw the book at her, Villar said nary a nasty word.

And so, the Villar armada blitzed the media. And, as expected, his poll numbers went up and up and up until he came up to a statistical dead heat with Noynoy Aquino.

But then, in the cruelest traditions of Murphy’s law (If something can go wrong, it will), things began to unravel.

Villar’s Senate colleagues pursued accusations against him of using his power and influence as speaker of the House of Representatives and as Senate president to provide undue advantages to his business interests. Among others, the C-5 extension public works project translated into billions drained from the national coffers and poured into Villar’s bank account.

Some nasty punster then came up with an alternative to "Sipag at Tiyaga" -- "C5 at Taga." The last word being a Tagalog idiom for an illicit profit.

Then other punsters went to town, creating funny versions of his "bathing in garbage" story and the one about being so poor, his brother died from lack of medicine.

Some digging into Villar’s background exposed these stories as the product of a copywriter’s over-imaginative mind. That, by itself, violated a cardinal rule in advertising: Make sure your puffery can be supported by facts.

Then stories of land-grabbing and questionable get-rich-quick schemes began to surface. And all Villar and his apologists could do was to dismiss the accusations as "politically motivated."

And for the coup de grace, another punster added two and two together -- namely, Villar and Arroyo -- and concocted the name, Villarroyo. And for the final flourish, they changed his name to Money. MONEY VILLARROYO.

As if that was not enough, the law of unintended consequences has come into play. Villar’s billions in media spending has begun to bother the simple minded masses. "How does he expect to recoup all of that investment???" they have now begun to ask.

If you know something about communications jujitsu or the technique of using your opponents strength against him, then you must agree that this is exactly what has been inflicted on Manny Villar.

The latest SWS survey tells us that Noynoy Aquino, who has not been spending as much as Villar, has surged ahead with a 9-point spread, caused mainly by a significant dive in Villar’s poll ratings. Another survey, this time by Manila Standard, shows an even bigger spread of Aquino: 13 points.

In the face of all these, what are Villar’s options?

OPTION ONE: Fire his creative brain trust. In fact, burn them on a stake for not allowing facts to get in the way of their fiction.

The trouble with that is, Villar can’t be sure that the replacement will be better. In fact, at this stage of the campaign, all the creative brains-for-hire in Manila are already busy on the campaigns of other candidates.

OPTION TWO: Fire the columnists, newscasters, and commentators in the Villar payroll. Apparently, these folks have lost all credibility and anything they say FOR Villar is taken AGAINST him by the public.

The trouble with that is, these AC-DC journalists (attack-and-collect, defend-and-collect) will probably be merrily writing for another batch of presidential candidates the next day. Maybe, Villar should just pay them to STOP WRITING and STOP TALKING.

OPTION THREE: Ressurect Garci and Lintang Bedol and bring back the Hamburjer Man into the Comelec.

Of course, there is a FOURTH OPTION, which Villar may not fully appreciate. And this is the possibility that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may have been stringing him along and really has no intentions of handing over the presidency to him. There is a Tagalog phrase for that: "Ginigisa sa sariling mantika." (Frying him in his own lard).

Meanwhile, to revive his spirits, Villar may want to seek the counsel of his Holiness Mike Velarde, who could advise him in impeccable English: "Strong your heart, for in the long of time, you will success

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

How Manny Villar lied and used the death of his brother Danny

Nakaranas na ba kayong ... mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot (Have you experienced losing a brother because you did not have the money to provide him proper medical care)? — Manny Villar asked in his “PANATA (Advocacy)” TV commercial. Villar was referring to his younger brother Danny who passed away on October 1962. In the same commercial, Villar’s 1962 photo with his younger brother was shown.

This portrayal of being poor once upon a time is a fantasy which comes in a series of similar attempts by Villar to create empathy with the nearly 90% of voters who belong to the socio-economic classes D and E. However, this particular attempt to use his late brother Danny to further his political ambition showed that Villar is as capable of lying just like Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

Two public documents — the death certificate of Danny B. Villar and the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT number: 135396/3194) of the 560 square meter property in the upper class San Rafael Village of Navotas where the Villars had lived when Danny died — shattered this ONCE POOR fantasy that Villar has been peddling.

What the San Rafael Village TCT presents:

1. Before 1962, the Villars bought 560 square meters (SQM) of high valued real estate on Bernardo Street in San Rafael Village where the more affluent folks in the Tondo-Navotas area resided.

2. The DEATH CERTIFICATE of the deceased Danny B. Villar established that they were already residing there in 1962.

3. Based on 2009 prices, the P16,000 GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) mortgage mentioned in the TCT — not necessarily the total cost of the two 280 SQM lots — is now the equivalent of P1,140,000.00. Poor people today cannot even borrow P200,000. Those who are familiar with the subdivision say that the cost per SQM in San Rafael Village today would be around P10,000 per SQM or an equivalent of around P5,600,000 for the entire property.

4. Jun Borres, the present owner who is using the 560 SQM property as offices of his firm, Jumbo Fishing, stated that when they bought it in 1987 - it had a one and a half floor house. The ground floor was made of concrete while the upstairs was made of wood. This was typical upper middle class and upper class dwelling in the 1960s.

Implications of the San Rafael Village ownership

1. Together with established Manny Villar bio information, they could not have been dirt poor to be able to move to San Rafael Village before 1962. His mother was a seafood (shrimp, crab and fish) dealer in Divisoria Market, not a fish vendor as what Villar tries to project. A seafood dealer supplies the vendors. For a family of 11, they ate canned corned beef — which Manny Villar admitted on his earlier TV ad. His father was a government official, said to be a Budget Officer of the then DANR (Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources) under which was the Fisheries Bureau. Manny Villar studied in private schools — the Holy Child Catholic School for elementary and Mapua Institute of Technology for High School. Poor folks send their kids to public schools.

2. Villar’s parents must have had a sizeable combined income to be able to buy the San Rafael Village property. The 560 SQM size demonstrates their financial capacity. If they could, poor people buy lots sized less than 100 SQMs. Villar’s father must also be making a sizeable income from the government to be able to borrow P16,000 from the GSIS. In 1962, senior executives in big corporations made monthly salaries of about P2,000.

What Danny B. Villar’s DEATH CERTIFICATE reveals:

1. It is NOT TRUE that Danny died because they were poor and could not afford proper health care. The stated residence in Danny’s death certificate was the San Rafael Village property.

2. The BIG LIE is further proved by the fact that Danny stayed 13 days at the FEU (Far Eastern University) Hospital where he expired at age 3 years and 8 months. If they were really poor, the PGH (Philippine General Hospital) would have been the affordable hospital to bring Danny. He was definitely given proper health care. FEU Hospital was one of the top hospitals in 1962, before the establishment of the Makati Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital.

3. Danny died from CARDIAC and RESPIRATORY FAILURE resulting from COMPLICATIONS OF LEUKEMIA. In 1962, there was no bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy yet and everyone whether rich or poor died from contracting leukemia.

4. Upon Danny’s death, his remains were turned over to LA FUNERARIA PAZ — then, until now, considered one of the top two mortuaries (Funeraria Nacional, the other). This further disproved Manny Villar’s claim that Danny died because they did not have the money to take care of him.

When Iggy Arroyo was seen as having taken the Jose Pidal rap for his elder brother Mike, many folks felt that it was rather low of Mike Arroyo to place his younger brother at risk. Our culture expects the older brother to protect the younger brother.

In that regard, we can consider Manny Villar as having done worse than Mike Arroyo. At least, Iggy Arroyo was alive and kicking and he could have opted to stay out of the Jose Pidal controversy. But in the case of Manny and Danny Villar, Danny was used to promote a myth when Danny was in no position to agree to his elder brother Manny’s portrayal of his death.

With the propagation of this ONCE POOR fantasy, don’t you think that Manny Villar also desecrated the memory and honor of his parents who strove to be able to provide their children quality education and an upper class domicile?

If Manny Villar can lie and use his dead younger brother like this, what makes you think that he will really improve and not worsen your life? What makes you think that he is not as greedy as he is being charged in this presidential campaign? What makes you think that you can trust Manny Villar?

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Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: and

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Awesome (claims) by Manny Villar

AN ORGANIZATION I BELONG TO, THE Movement for Good Governance (MGG), has, as one of its objectives, raising the level of discussion and quality of information during the election campaign, so that the information that voters obtain on candidates are not just those provided by the candidates themselves (which are naturally going to be self-serving) but have been subjected to scrutiny for either feasibility (as in their platforms, which require the assessment of experts) or authenticity (in regard to their claims, which require investigation and drudgework). That way, the voter will be in a much better position to choose their leaders for the next three or six years.

Manny Pangilinan's TV5 has picked up on MGG's work and will jointly sponsor a five-part special series that will in effect showcase the results of this scrutiny. And since Sen. Manny Villar's TV and radio ads far outnumber the ads of his opponents, they provide much more grist for an investigator/evaluator's mill.

Take the ad, for example, which roughly translated goes something like this: "Have you experienced sleeping on a short bench in the market? Or the death of a brother because you had no money for medicine/proper health care, so you were helpless? Well, I, too, have experienced all that. Which is why, when God blessed me with a good life, it became my vow to help those who have nothing. If I really wanted to get richer, I would just go back to being a businessman. If I could get out of poverty, I can also do it for you. This is my vow: to end poverty." The TV ads are highlighted by a 1962 picture of the young Manny and his younger brother Danny-the year that Danny died-as well as a Villar family picture.

The message being conveyed is simple and powerful: he was dirt poor, but God got him out of poverty; and he has vowed to do the same for others. And he is sincere: he is not running for president to make money-because if he only wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was go back to being a businessman. It is indeed a great ad. One viewer's reaction was: Awesome.

Awesome, indeed. Because documents sent to me turn those assertions on their head, so that the only thing accurate about the ad may be the family pictures.

First there is the matter of the copy of a death certificate of Daniel Bamba Villar indicated as issued by the NSO. According to that document, Daniel Bamba Villar, son of Manuel Villar and Curita Bamba, address xx (number illegible) Bernardo Street, North Balut, Navotas, died at the Far Eastern University Hospital on Oct. 13, 1962, at the age of three years and eight months, of cardio-respiratory failure due to leukemia (there is something about red cells, but the writing again is illegible), after a 13-day hospital stay. In the space for informant, the signatory is Manuel Villar, father.

Now, that Daniel Villar was brought to a private hospital-FEUH had the same reputation then as Makati Medical or Manila Doctors or St Luke's would have now-rather than, say, a government hospital like the Philippine General Hospital, or San Lazaro, does not necessarily disprove the Villar ad contention that his family was poor. It is not unusual for families, however poor, to do what is necessary in order to secure the best care for their children, and damn the consequences. That it was Funeraria Paz (one of the two top funeral parlors at that time), as indicated on the same death certificate, that took care of the funeral arrangements, again does not necessarily contradict the "I was poor" contention, for the same reason.

But then, Villar does not just say in the ad that his family was poor. He said his brother died because there was no money for medicine or medical care. That appears to be clearly contradicted by the certificate.

Moreover, there is the matter of the address provided by Villar senior: apparently, from pictures and on-site investigation, Bernardo Street in North Balut is part of San Rafael Village, a gated community, equivalent at that time to FilAm Homes in Quezon City. A copy of the Transfer Certificate of Title for the property-which is a 560-square-meter lot-has also been provided. Now anyone who can afford to buy a 560-square-meter lot (the TCT shows that Villar senior borrowed P16,000 from the GSIS for the release of the title-which at current prices is roughly equivalent to P1.266 million) is not exactly consistent with being dirt poor.

Finally, there is the matter of Senator Villar's assertion that if he just wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was get back to being a businessman. Again, the documentary evidence: his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 1992-the first year he joined government as a congressman-showed that his net worth was P75 million. After nine years of being a congressman, and eight years of being a senator, his most recent SALN (2008) shows a net worth of P1.047 billion. Being in public office surely has paid off for him.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Battle over land

By some uncanny coincidence, the main points of attack of the camps of two leading presidential candidates are converging on land issues. The NP-Villar camp, including its allies from the militant left, has launched successive blasts against LP standard-bearer, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on the Hacienda Luisita issue. In turn, accusations of land-grabbing, illegal land conversion, and use of power and influence in enhancing Senator Villar’s real property business have been leveled against the NP candidate.

The militant left is a leading participant in the NP-Villar camp’s attack. Recall that they opted to boycott the 1986 snap elections and were not part of Cory Aquino’s rainbow coalition that was swept by People Power into the country’s leadership. Even after President Aquino set free Jose Ma. Sison and other CPP-NPA leaders, the militant left remained critical of her administration.

The Luisita attack is a mere rehash or recycling of the militant left’s historical antipathy toward the Cory Aquino presidency. Let the son bear his late mother’s burden.

What are the facts conveniently forgotten or omitted in the NP-Villar camp’s Luisita offensive?

First, it was President Aquino who included sugar lands in the coverage of agrarian reform. From 1963 to 1987 (through both the Macapagal and Marcos administrations covering a total of 24 years) only rice and corn lands were covered. Against her family’s own interests, President Aquino opted to place sugar lands, including Hacienda Luisita, under agrarian reform.

Secondly, as a sugar plantation, Luisita has always employed farm workers. Scale economy is essential to viability. It is unlike the situation in rice and corn where a landlord-tenant relationship is the dominant mode in production.

Thirdly, the Cojuangco family has no record of violence. The family acquired Hacienda Luisita from Tabacalera in 1957. For 57 years, or until November 2004, there was no violence in Luisita. The violence in November 2004 arose from an illegal strike heavily supported by the militant left.

Now that he is a presidential candidate, Noynoy Aquino is being dragged into the Luisita controversy. Strenuous efforts are being made to link him to the alleged Luisita massacre of November 2004. Contrary to allegations, he was never a vice president for security of Hacienda Luisita, Inc., or of Tarlac Development Corp. Then there are tales on the alleged involvement of Noynoy’s bodyguards in violence against members of the Luisita union. Unheard of for more than five years, these allegations surfaced only when Senator Aquino became a candidate for the 2010 presidential elections.

What about the LP-Aquino camp’s charges against Senator Villar that also focus on his real property business?

When the Aquino-Roxas tandem made a sortie in Iloilo City in February, senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon exposed the questionable Villar land deals. He presented an Iloilo official who reported that, according to public records, Mr. Villar’s companies first acquired parcels of irrigated land that were then allegedly fenced off, thereby depriving adjoining rice farms of much-needed irrigation. This allegedly facilitated the acquisition of up to 250 hectares of land that comprise the Savannah estate owned by Mr. Villar’s companies.

Other groups have hurled similarly serious charges against Mr. Villar. A group of Dumagats have come out showing documented proof that Mr. Villar’s companies used allegedly spurious land titles to obtain loans from the Bangko Sentral to prop up the precarious financial standing of the Villar-owned Capitol Development Bank. This alleged instance of land grabbing is based on the contention that the land titles were issued in 1944 or during the Japanese occupation when it was most unlikely for such documents to have been prepared at all.

Another group of concerned citizens have aired a land-grabbing charge against Mr. Villar’s companies pertaining to Paradise Park in San Pedro, Laguna.

But by far the most serious charges were those aired by then Rep. Joker Arroyo who, in August 1998, delivered a privilege speech calling for an investigation of alleged violations of the Constitution and laws of the land by then newly elected Speaker Villar (see Vector, March 12, 2010).

Mr. Antonio Hidalgo, who served as secretary-general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) during the Ramos administration, has corroborated Mr. Arroyo’s charges.

According to Mr. Hidalgo, in the aftermath of the EDSA revolution, Mr. Villar and his colleagues in the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations (CREBA) influenced the Aquino administration in launching an aggressive mortgage financing program, the Unified Home Lending Program (UHLP) of the National Home Finance Mortgage Corp. (NHMFC) and the Pag-Ibig Fund. Mr. Hidalgo wrote in an e-mail message:

"Look at the results of Villar’s thousands of houses under the UHLP from 1986 to 1997 (when we reformed the UHLP to prevent Villar from bankrupting the country). Villar became a billionaire. NHMFC, the financial coordinator of the program, was bankrupted. The funders (SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig) were stuck with billions in bad home mortgages covering Villar’s houses and flirted with bankruptcy for a while. Eventually, these bad mortgages had to be covered by the national government using its tax revenues (including your taxes and mine) because the funders were covered by a sovereign guarantee. Subsequently (beginning 2003 or 2004), the losses on the bad mortgages had to be written off by selling them through special purpose asset vehicles (SPAVS) at a fraction of their face value. Meanwhile, look around you. Nearly half of the residents of Metro Manila still live in squatter areas!"

Messrs. Arroyo and Hidalgo are emphasizing the same theme: Mr. Villar, as a congressman (then House speaker) and as a senator (then Senate president) actively participated in the enactment of laws that favored his businesses directly. This is the essence of the resolution of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the C-5 controversy which 12 of his fellow senators signed: that he committed acts inimical to the Republic and favorable to his own businesses.

It is undeniable that the tremendous increase in Mr. Villar’s personal net worth — he was catapulted to the Top 10 Richest Filipinos list of Forbes magazine in 2008, the only public official in that list — was achieved while holding public office.

Last Sunday, the gospel featured an admonition from Jesus Christ to the Pharisees who had wanted to stone an adulterous woman, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Comparing the Aquino and Villar records on these issues, who between the two is facing the electorate with cleaner hands: the son of two national heroes and icons of democracy who is considered the most trustworthy among the presidential candidates, or the businessman who broke into billionaire’s row as a congressman and senator?

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Villar’s ‘orange’ mall sees red in yellow ribbons

The “orange” camp sees red in the color yellow.

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon Saturday found that out for himself.

The color yellow of his presidential candidate, Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, was not welcome in a mall owned by Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar in Muntinlupa City.

A yellow streamer of Aquino’s was displayed in a space Biazon was renting in Metropolis, a mall owned by Villar.

The senator said mall personnel not only took down the yellow streamer bearing the tandem of Aquino and running mate Sen. Mar Roxas, his staff was also kicked out of the premises.

Mall personnel also removed the yellow ribbons and flowers adorning the space of Biazon’s next door neighbor and replaced them with decorations in orange—the campaign color of Villar.

NP still verifying incident

At press time, the Nacionalista Party was in the process of verifying the alleged incident, said the NP secretariat.

“They came like the Gestapo,” said Biazon, former Armed Forces chief of staff, referring to Adolf Hitler’s secret police that used terrorist methods against people suspected of disloyalty during World War II.

Biazon is running for representative in the lone district of Muntinlupa under the LP. His staff has been holding voter’s education and training programs for poll watchers in the rented space in the mall since last week.

‘They kicked us out’

On Saturday, the training program was canceled after mall personnel “kicked us out” of the premises, the senator said.

He said the mall personnel also canceled their space rental contract.

“We paid for the place. They have no business doing that,” said Biazon, adding that he planned to “take action” but he would first consult his son, Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who is running for senator in the LP party.

Apparently, Biazon’s space was not the mall’s only object of attention.

The senator said he was a guest speaker during Saturday’s graduation rites of five Muntinlupa-based day care centers that was held next door to his office in the same mall.

Yellow to orange

Just before he arrived, Biazon said mall personnel came and took down all the yellow ribbons and flowers adorning the stage and replaced them with trimmings in the color orange.

“But not all the decorations were yellow. There were some in green and blue,” the senator said.

Day care center officials were aghast.

Biazon said his heart went out to the teachers who decorated the stage to make it special for the kids.

“They’re acting as if the owner [of the mall] is the president of the republic,” scoffed Biazon, saying that even if Villar was president, his men “had no right to do that.”

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Was Manny Villar really ever poor?

“Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? (Have you bathed in a sea of garbage?)” is the opening line of the jingle of Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manny Villar which is featured in a television commercial that attempts to project him as having been one of the poorest of the poor. But was Manny Villar really one of the poorest of the poor as what his advertising has been projecting?

A Chair Wrecker reader from Tondo who claimed to know the Villar family when they still resided there debunked that notion of Villar ever having been poor. This information was relayed to yours truly via our response email address.

The former Villar family Tondo neighbor cited reference points to support his assertion that Manny Villar was never really poor — including the claim that Villar’s father used to have a “nikaladong (stainless steel clad)” private Jeep. During the 1950s, a nikaladong private Jeep is a status symbol in Tondo, definitely not the hallmark of a poor household.

Considering how Manny Villar has been dodging the serious issues pertaining to his use of public office in order to add immense benefits and profits to his businesses, your Chair Wrecker decided to do some investigating. Guess what Manny Villar’s online bio revealed:

“Manuel Villar Jr. was born on December 13, 1949 in Tondo, a densely populated district of Manila. He was the second of nine children of Manuel Villar Sr., a government employee, and Curita Bamba, a seafood dealer. As a young boy, he helped his mother sell fish, crabs, and shrimp in Divisoria to help earn money to pay for his education.

Villar finished his education at Holy Child Catholic School in 1962, and finished his high school education at Mapua Institute of Technology in 1966. He attended the University of the Philippines-Diliman and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970. He returned to the same school to earn his master’s degree in business administration in 1973.”

In the early 1950s, the rich lived in the big compounds in Ermita and Pasay and what was called New Manila in Quezon City. In Tondo, you found the middle class and the poor as well. Former president Joseph Estrada also claims roots in Tondo but his family was never poor. Based on his online bio, Villar cannot really justify calling himself poor.

The Villar Tondo home, as shown on his 2009 TV commercials, was made of sturdy materials. It has lasted to this day. His father was employed while his mother operated a fish, crab and shrimp dealership in lucrative Divisoria Market. It may not be Class AB household income but it is definitely not Class E.

Proof that the Villar children were never really wanting is the fact that Manny Villar studied in private schools. The indigent kids went to public school. Enrolling one’s child in a private school is a middle class value and option. The indigent kids who do manage to finish high school would tend to immediately learn a craft in order to be able to earn money right away. Aspiring for a business administration master’s degree is not the usual post high school move of indigent kids.

Villar narrated on his 2009 TV commercial, with Boy Abunda interviewing him, that as a young kid he thought that corned beef was soupy because that was how they used to prepare it at home. This, he claimed, was their way to ensure that everybody had a share.

But the fact is that there are really two ways to cook canned corned beef. One is the dry sautéed type while the other is the soupy type where you can add potatoes and cabbage. Both the rich and the middle class enjoy corned beef both ways.

Also, poor folks, especially a family of eleven, CANNOT AFFORD to eat canned corned beef. For a family of 11 to be eating corned beef confirms that the Villar family is anything but poor. That was the case then and more so now when the poor go hungry or manage to eat only one meal a day. Up to the 1980s, people from the provinces consider it a status symbol to be eating corned beef. That is why canned foodstuffs, especially corned beef, are being displayed in the sala by many households in the provinces for these to be seen by visitors.

For Manny Villar to don this facade of being “poor” once upon a time just to gain political advantage should make every Filipino voter ponder as to what else he would be willing to do just to attain his objective.

Wisdom from a cherished

honest man

Tomorrow, our family will mark the death anniversaries of our Dad and Mom who both died on the same date, four years apart. Mom passed away on February 8, 1966 while Dad passed away on February 8, 1970.

Our Dad was the most honest person we knew. During the era of President Elpidio Quirino, a close friend and former classmate of Dad, an opportunity was given to Dad to make a cool P200,000 — a fortune then when Forbes Park lots cost a mere P50 per square meter.

The one-hectare government owned NAMARCO lot at the corner of what is now Claro M. Recto and Quezon Avenue in Quiapo, then considered prime property, was offered to Dad in a no strings attached and perfectly legal transaction by the cash strapped government. Dad could have easily bought and resold it to make P200,000.

But Dad turned down the offer because he sensed an impropriety owing to his closeness to President Quirino. Many of our family friends admired Dad for that but in the same breath they also felt that he was crazy not to grab it.

I can never forget two lessons about honesty which Dad taught me. Dad did warn me: “Be very wary of people who like to project that they are honest because they believe that honesty is the best policy. Honesty when used as a policy is the worst form of deceit. Be honest because you believe in the virtue of honesty and not because you need a policy for personal gain.”

Shifting to Filipino, Dad also said: “Ang MANLILINLANG ay kambal ng MAGNANAKAW (The deceiver is the twin of the thief).”

Dad was right. Our country’s biggest deceivers are also our biggest thieves.

source - Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: and

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mike Velarde, Manny Villar and their business ties that bind

Mariano “Mike” Velarde, also known as Bro. Mike, tends to be perceived by your Chair Wrecker as being more of a businessman and a politician — who has in fact mulled running for president — rather than as a religious minister.

For perspective, your Chair Wrecker deeply admires the Christianity of Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto and the late Focolare Movement founder, Chiara Lubich. They both epitomize the great commandment of Jesus Christ that “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me.”

Contrasting with the Christianity of Tony Meloto and Chiara Lubich, Velarde strikes your Chair Wrecker as being focused more on the brethren with the most rather than those with the least. There have been many who have expressed their views that Velarde appears to be using the least to gain leverage with the most.

Two of the 900 documents in the Senator Manny Villar Senate Ethics Case would show how Mike Velarde has capitalized on his El Shaddai flock. True reproductions of the Villar Ethics Case file, these two documents also show the business ties that bind Mike Velarde and Manny Villar.

The first document that follows is the April 27, 1998 letter of Mike Velarde to the government of former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) regarding the C-5 Road Alignment which Velarde wrote not only for his business interest but also for and on behalf of the business interests of Henry Sy of Shoemart fame and then Representative Manny Villar.

Exhibit X April 27, 1998


Officer in Charge

Toll Regulatory Board

19th Floor Strata 100 Bldg.,

Emerald Ave., Pasig

Dear Mr. Dumaual;

We are submitting herewith the final C-5 Road alignment, together with the area computation in accordance with our previous understanding for your immediate approval and implementation.

The group of 3 owners will hire Proconsult the engineering design firm of the original TRB proposed plan, to design the minor revisions. This will ensure the fast approval of our requested change.

Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,


Signed By: MARIANO Z. VELARDE, President




Signed By: ANASTACIO C. ADRIANO, JR., Senior Vice President/General Manager

The second document that follows is the April 27, 1998 (note the same date) memo of Benjamin de Leon, Presidential Assistant for Social Development and Foreign Affairs, to FVR about the Velarde-Sy-Villar transaction with the government. Note how de Leon specifically mentions the name of Rep. Manny Villar in the memo to FVR.

ANNEX 11 Exhibit X


FROM: The Appointments Secretary/Presidential Assistant for Social Development and Foreign Affairs


DATE: 27 April 1998

1. May I respectfully convey to His Excellency the request of Bro. Mike Velarde concerning the settlement of issues on the acquisition of Road Right Of Way by DPWH relative to the construction of C-5 Road (Renone-Berhad Package).

2. Based on the recommendations submitted by Bro. Mike Velarde, the following courses of action may be adopted:

2.1 For the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) under DPWH Secretary Vigilar to approve the plan jointly submitted by AMVEL Corp. of Bro. Mike, ShoeMart, Inc. under Henry Sy and Adelfa, Inc. of Rep. Manny Villar.

2.2 For TRB to appraise the property affected the C-5 Access Roads, toll plaza and the main highway based on the prevailing market price in the vicinity of Sucat Road, Paranaque.

2.3 For TRB to issue an order of payment in order of PEA and DPWH to effect the payment to the affected landowners.

2.4 For PEA to purchase the area between Eastern Access and Spoke of the Toll Plaza covering 22,280 square meters for use by the DPWH in exchange for the DPWH lot along the Coastal Road which was taken-over by PEA.

3. For His Excellency’s consideration.



The following was the personal handwritten note of FVR at the bottom of the Benjamin de Leon memo:

28 April 1998

To Sec. DPWH & Ch. PEA info ES

Fast-track the remaining issues NLT 30 April 98 re the C5-Coastal Road project in order to alleviate heavy traffic congestion in the area.

Signed: FVR

Don’t you think that this Velarde letter with a big business tycoon and a congressman tied up with it constitutes pressure on the former president to favor their request? Don’t you think that was an inappropriate act for one who claims to be a religious leader? Don’t you think that Villar’s involvement here is a case of conflict of interest regardless if he personally signed the letter to the government or not?

Thus, it came as no surprise to your Chair Wrecker when the Villar camp announced recently that they have already received the endorsement of Mike Velarde. Mike Velarde was evasive about the Villar endorsement but then he too was evasive about his support for Joseph Estrada and Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. If Pope Pius XII had been asked to endorse Adolf Hitler and agreed to do so, it is but natural if he too would be evasive about confirming it.

A very rich man in the US once said that better a friendship founded on business than a business founded on friendship. That of course follows the precept of some businessmen that you’re wise to leave your heart at home when you run your company.

Mike Velarde continues to be viewed by some as a religious leader instead of being a businessman and a politician. He should come clean and clarify if he is really endorsing Manny Villar and if that endorsement is spiritually motivated or an endorsement founded on business and politics.

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: and www.chair

source -

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Manny Villar Commercial Spoof








‘The Philippines is not for sale’

Every yet undecided voter must get to read Enrile’s statement

"I commend Senator Gordon for unmasking the real character of Senator and presidential candidate Manuel B. Villar as a man who thinks he can buy his way to the highest position in the land with his billions of money.

"I understand Senator Gordon has come out to tell the public about the bribe attempt made by Senator Villar through an "emissary" and a "mutual friend." I confirm that such attempt actually happened and I have no doubt about its veracity because Sen. Gordon told me about it immediately.

"My recollection is that when I filed the report of the Committee of the Whole on the Ethics complaint involving the C5 controversy, having been signed by 11 Senators with myself as the author acting as Chairman, my Chief of Staff relayed to me by phone that another Senator, who Villar was supporting to replace me as Senate President, had approached Sen. Gordon to join the plot to oust me and install a new leadership in the Senate.

"The approach, which came with an offer for a position of Sen. Gordon’s choice under a "Villar Administration" was turned down outright by Sen. Gordon saying "I cannot, in conscience, do such a thing, especially not to Senator Enrile who I regard as a father."

"On that same day, upon seeing Sen. Gordon arrive at the Senate session, I embraced him and whispered "Thank you, Dick. I know what happened." At that time, he seemed surprised at my gesture and just hugged me back.

"Several days after, when we were about to take up the report on the floor, I got another report that Sen. Gordon was offered, on top of the first offer for a position if Sen. Villar makes it to the presidency, was likewise offered a huge amount of money to withdraw his signature from my report. I was appalled by this report and felt it was my duty to tell Sen. Gordon that such news was circulating. I called Sen. Gordon and informed him that I will never believe that he will succumb to such a brazen act of bribery.

"Sen. Gordon privately confirmed to me that such offer was indeed made and that he felt furious and insulted by the temerity and gall of Villar to think that he can be intimidated by money, much less lured by an offer for a position of power. He immediately said NO to this offer.

"Later, I learned that it went even beyond that; that Sen. Villar offered "reimbursement for what Sen. Gordon had so far spent for his presidential bid with an added premium just to convince him to withdraw from the presidential race.

"I have known Sen. Gordon from his younger days, and one thing I can say is that this man cannot be bought. Sen. Villar is dead wrong about Sen. Gordon. You do not put a price tag on everyone, especially not Dick Gordon.

"Actually, I knew about the plan to oust me since last December. On the last day of our sessions before the Christmas break, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, on orders of his master, Sen. Villar, in no uncertain terms, delivered the threat to my Chief of Staff that if I make a move to gather enough votes in support of my Committee Report, Sen. Villar wants me to know that he will have no other choice but to take the Senate Presidency either for himself or for another Senator of his choice.

"As things developed and the co-perpetrators of the coup plot against me began to show their real colors, I surmised that the "emissary" to Sen. Gordon and Sen. Villar’s nominee could be no other than Senator Edgardo J. Angara…

"This attempt of Villar is similar to the offer made by another "emissary" to former President Estrada, our standard bearer in the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino- "reimbursement in exchange for withdrawal." President Estrada rightly turned down this indecent proposal. President Estrada’s candidacy is NOT FOR SALE.

"I had earlier revealed that Sen. Villar himself tried to bribe me into not proceeding with the investigation by the Committee of the Whole, offering me "help" for whatever it was I needed. As I said, I replied to him that I can only advice him to participate in the hearings and introduce evidence to counter the charges and evidence against him, and that I am giving him that advice for free, without any consideration. I wish to reiterate to Sen. Villar: I AM NOT FOR SALE.

"If you tie all these things up with Sen. Villar’s unprecedented campaign spending for advertisements, cash give-aways to local officials and supporters, his media budget and sum it all up, then you have a complete picture of the man who is now presenting himself as the "best" alternative for the presidency.

"Sen. Villar is a pretender posturing as a pleasant and decent person and using his poverty during his childhood days to project himself as pro-poor. It is as if having been once poor was equivalent to really having the heart for the poor.

"Villar has to answer what he has done for the poor since he became a multi-billionaire and in his long career as a politician apart from his expensive "give-aways" , helping OFW’s, giving livelihood, building homes for the poor by shelling out money ALL FOR PROPAGANDA.

"Sen. Villar must be asked what he did for the poor that he did not make sure was covered by media so he can use it for his campaign propaganda. He should be asked what social cause he has really championed as a legislator, not an ordinary one, by the way, for he served as no less than Speaker of the House and Senate President.

"He should he asked how he victimized the poor and the taxpayers of this country with his financial schemes in the housing business, and about the collapse of his own bank, Capitol Bank, mysteriously leaving him richer, not poorer.

"Amongst all who are now running for President, Villar stands out, indeed, as the RICHEST and one who thinks that everyone can be bought: the people through his misleading advertisements, some media people who are obviously in his "payola", political leaders who are vulnerable to his offer to partake of his financial largesse, and all his attempts to bribe even his colleagues and fellow aspirants to the Presidency.

"Sen. Villar may have succeeded to a large extent in deploying the huge fortune he acquired, perhaps some by honest means, but definitely, a large part, by the immoral use of his political position, power and clout to advance his own business interests as borne out by the evidence in Senate Ethics case and, much earlier, by the shenanigans exposed on the Floor of the Lower House by Sen. Joker Arroyo.

"But on May 10, he must be taught a hard and painful lesson by no less than the electorate. He must be unmasked and rejected as a fake leader in order for the nation to redeem itself. We must clearly send the strongest message to Senator Manuel "Manny" B. Villar, as Senator Richard J. Gordon has said, that THE PRESIDENCY OF THIS NATION, THE FILIPINO PEOPLE, AND THE PHILIPPINES ARE NOT FOR SALE."

sa mata makikita ang pagkatao

"For so many years, we have been political allies of the Aguilar family. As you know, Villar is married to the daughter of Dr. Filemon C. Aguilar, the long-time mayor of Las Piñas… You can say we have a good profile of the fellow. Yes, we were friends of the Aguilars even before he married Cynthia or way back in 1965. Lest it be misinterpreted, during those many years of alliance with the Aguilar family, we asked no favors, pecuniary or otherwise. We could have, but never did because we believed in the old man. To date, we still believe in Nene, the incumbent mayor of Las Piñas…(but not Villar)…Why? When he ran and won as congressman for Las Piñas, we somehow felt happy… then came his bid for the Senate. My late father and I went to see the man in his house, hoping to see in person what has become of a townmate aspiring for a national elective position. That was the time we were convinced he is in a place he ought not to be."

"It shows in his eyes. (notice is used the present tense - try it). I saw a lust for power, a hunger for ‘something more’, as if he wanted something from you.

"You enumerated in your article some real estate issues concerning Villar. In Las Piñas, such issues are taken as fact. He however (commands) respect from many simply because he’s got money. This does not include us, and many others who are not blinded by the glitter of his wealth. We have been poor since, and we’re not ashamed of it. The real question anent this matter however, is: how did he do it? The way you put it only serves to confirm the saying that, "behind all great wealth is a crime". We in Las Piñas know what we know; we just don’t talk about it."

"Going back to the eyes.....try it sometime in person." Look at the eyes and think whether he is true and sincere.

Monsod's Musings

Villar still refuses to attend the Senate to face questions, and it only reminds me of how GMA used the privilege of her office to avoid questioning. What will happen if Villar wins and more corruption scandals surface?

With Villar catching up to Noynoy in the polls, I am honestly quite terrified of the prospect of him winning. There is a clear case of graft in this instance, and instead of delving into the issues, his allies in the legislative are simply brushing off the allegations as "politically motivated". As a citizen, we should not accept this. If there is smoke, we must see if there is a fire that needs to be put out. Yes, the timing of the allegations seem a bit off. ( Joker Arroyo was pushing these issues as early as 1998). A known crook and political opportunist, Juan Ponce Enrile, is the person leading the censure. However, when the facts are presented, it is clear as day that something is amiss. It just further builds on my strong suspicions that Villar is a businessman simply looking to control the political arena to make a boat load of money.

I have never trusted Villar since day one. I never trust businessmen who enter politics, because in the end, their core value is and always will be profit maximization. It is well documented that Villar's real estate empire ran into some serious financial problems when his overexposure to the real estate market and the Asian Financial Crisis made him unable to pay debts he took out to expand his real estate business in the early 1990s. After the Asian Crisis hit, Capitol Bank, owned by Villar and heavily exposed to his real estate investments was essentially ran to the ground and needed to be bailed out. In 2005, Villar tried to solve his debt problems by hiring a group of investment banks to advise him on how he can consolidate all his assets into one company (Vista Land). With the local and foreign investment bankers, Villar came up with a growth story for investors: "Invest in my company because we need it to fund all these wonderful project!" However, what was downplayed during the IPO roadshow was that instead of financing growth, resources from the offering would be used to finance his debt. To appease creditors, Villar even had his investment bankers pitch some form of a debt-to-equity conversion that raised skeptical eyebrows of many. In 2007, the IPO of Vista Land did not do as well as planned, in part because many investors and brokers were the same people who were burned by Villar's inability to pay back his loans.

Now, as part of a corporate growth (or should I say corporate restructuring) plan, Villar is lusting for the highest position in the land. This scares me because Villar already has a track record of using his political position to gain the upper hand for his businesses. To save his empire and increase shareholder value of his business, Villar used his influence as Senate Finance Chair to shrewdly derail a Cavite road project that was supposed to be BUILD, OPERATE, and TRANSFER. Villar built a longer and more expensive road, the C-5 extension, adjacent to it; subsequently forcing the private investor in the initial project to pull out. The fishy thing is that this new road, longer and more expensive than the previously planned project, passed through all of Villar's land in Cavite. It is a clear case of graft, pointing to Villar use of influence and government funds to substantially improve the values of his real estate properties. To add insult to injury the right of way the government would have to pay in order to complete the project was substantially higher for the land that Villar owned. These funds could have easily been used to build needed schools.

This scandal should be a red flag for all voters. However, the scary part is that Villar is spending billions to keep this out of the picture as he continues his attempt to brainwash our masses that he is their saviour. He convinces the masses that he is one of them. A poor boy from the slums of Tondo. In actuality, he is more like the 5-6 and syndicates, slum dwellers themselves who make a profit out of their poor brethren. Villar's ad agencies are doing an excellent job of maintaining this image as well as doing damage control. TV and radio continues to churn out Parokya Ni Edgaresque jingles that compete with "Nobody, Nobody." Dolphy is Villar's new spokesperson and Wowowee is one giant ad for him. In this process of brainwashing, the masses are not cognizant of how Villar conducts business as a politician. What they do not see is a man hell bent on turning our archipelago into his own personal piece of real estate.

It is sad that the efforts of Juan Ponce Enrile, who is leading the censure for Villar, is actually giving Villar more sympathy votes. People do no trust Enrile, and when Enrile pounces on someone, it is usually met with a high degree of skepticism. I do not blame people for feeling this way. I also think Enrile is a crook who should be jailed for conspiring to implement Martial Law, for coup attempts, and for the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime. If someone with a more respectable reputation were to level these charges on Villar, I am sure the surveys would tell a different story.

I also fear from some credible reports that Malacanang has actually made a deal with Villar (under the table). Essentially, GMA's goons said, "We will help you, in return, leave us alone when you win". Villar's behaviour in recent forums further adds credence to these reports as Villar has been very tame and quiet when it comes to how he will treat GMA after the elections. Appealing to common sense, it makes ALL THE SENSE for GMA to support someone who has a chance of winning, not a person rating at 4% in the surveys. GMA tried to reach out to Noynoy after Tita Cory died. All she got was rejection.

Who can stop Villar in his quest for the presidency?

I am known to be a Noynoy supporter, but to those skeptics and to those who are still undecided, I do concede that he is not perfect. His record as a politician is average and unspectacular at best. He does not have the charisma of his father. Before the death of his mother, he did not get much mileage. But I am going all out in support for Noynoy in 2010 because he stands for clean governance and appear willing to accomplish this. In addition, he has the best chance of preventing a opportunistic businessman, the assured next President of our country before Cory died, from using the Office of the President as a personal growth asset to his business empire.

Noynoy's clean record is a big plus for me. It is a trait that I think should be the most important quality that we should look for in our next president. His appeal is that his track record is not tarnished by corruption scandals and his political debts are minimal. I know that many critics are trying to make an issue over his involvement in Hacienda Luisita, but Noynoy is not even heavily involved in the company. As a shareholder, Noynoy only owns .04% of Hacienda Luisita, a drop in the ocean and hardly in any position to do something about it. The case of the Hacienda does not have the substance that the C-5 extension controversy has a lot of.

In addition, Nonoy also has an incredible legacy to live up to. All the pressure is on him to be clean and stay clean. He can't afford to tarnish the Aquino name and the immense legacy that his parents left behind. Cory and Ninoy practically sacrificed their family for their dream of a better Philippines. For Noynoy, to know that your father and mother went through so much hardship to improve our country is a heavy burden to think about if you do decide to become a crook and destroy everything that they fought for.

We all have to make a choice. In my opinion, it has to go to the presidentiable who has an independent mind, stands up for what he believes in, is clean, and has the legacy his parents to live up to and maintain. For me, Nonoy, with all his flaws, is that candidate. For what this
country needs is a clean president who can set an example top-down for the entire state; it needs a president with the will to change things and stamp out corruption; it needs a President who can set an example and is willing to perfect our dysfunctional democracy.

I want someone who stands for being clean. He does not need a degree from Harvard. He does not need to have a multi-million peso business to show me he can make us all rich. He does not have to speak well. He just has to be clean. Nothing else should matter. He has to prioritize a platform of clean and effective governance and make sure that it delivers on that promise. Policies on the economy, education, energy, environment and health can all follow after the fundamentals are taken cared of. So far, the only candidate who promotes my vision with a clean record to back it up is Noynoy.

Our urban landscape is replete with political slogans that attempt to convince people of certain candidate's ability to lead our nation

Galing at Talino? Sorry Gibo, those were the supposed qualities of GMA, rubber stamped with a Phd in Economics. And what happened? She only worsened our economy. To GMA's credit she did balance our budget at one point, but it has again ballooned to the level where the next president will have to deal with the same economic issues she faced in 2005. During GMA's watch investment in infrastructure was insufficient, poverty incidence worsened, public education deteriorated, our nautical highway is still incomplete, goons like the Ampatuan's flourished in the south, and a culture of corruption flourished in our institutions. Instead of creating jobs, GMA focused on a policy of exporting labor without measuring the social costs of such a policy- thousands of broken OFW families and children of OFW's who do not have the proper parental supervision to teach them the differences between right and wrong. In effect, our next generation is left on their own to figure out how to become empowered patriots who love their country and will fight to defend it. In effect, whatever statistics in GDP growth GMA and her allies love to advertise, non of it trickled down and benefitted the poor..and none of it accounts for the social costs to her policies.

Good speaker? Sorry Gibo, Marcos had that quality and he did nothing good for our contry. In fact, Marcos squandered the opportunity to be our Lee Kuan Yew and Dr. Mahatir. If I want a good, charismatic, and eloquent speaker, let's just run down the list of effective public speakers and vote them in.

Para sa mahirap? Sorry Erap, you had your chance and failed miserably. Your only accomplishment is in convincing our masses that movie roles do not carry over into the political area.

My only concern with Noynoy is how deep he might be in the Liberal Party and whether he has accumulate political debts to Liberal trapos. The Liberal PArty, like any party, has its own share of crooks (including those bandwagon trapos who jumped off GMA"s boat to ride on Aquino's popularity). How much will Nonoy have to give back to the Liberal trapos (and bandwagon Liberals who jumped GMA's ship) if elected? We will never know. However, I am willing to live with that unanswered question if it means preventing someone like Villar from turning the Philippines into Vista Land's next subdivision development. I am also reassured by the fact that he has that "Aquino" name and the ghosts of his parents to answer to if does decide to go down the immoral path.

Nonoy will not solve all our problems. One person can't. But we need a start somewhere and it should be with someone who pushes honesty, reform, and good governance. It will be a tough battle, but I want to give Noynoy the chance to build on what his mother tried to accomplish. And I hope that if Noynoy wins, he will have the courage to make tough decisions and go after crooks, even if it means hurting a lot of friends and colleagues in government.

To give you a better sense on how Villar conducts business, here is also a link to Joker Arroyo's 1998 privilege speech:
http://www.malayang 26/joker- arroyo-raises- issue-of- accountability- of-public- officers- against-manny- villar/

Actual notes scanned: http://www.scribd. com/doc/22789941 /Joker-Arroyo- Privilege- Speech

I guess "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck..." Well, as the saying goes......

Vote wisely Philippines. And continue to work towards uplifting the masses and freeing them from their state of hopelessness. Defend them from opportunists. DEVELOP THEM (FIRST) SPIRITUALLY AND BEHAVIORALLY; THEN ECONOMICALLY! When we lift up the poor and ween them off the mentality of hopelessness, our country will become first world. Only then will we have the powerful middle class that our young democracy is screaming for.

Winnie Monsod

If you want to see the black and white facts on the C5 controversy, check it here: com/watch? v=nUQDt-sXdlk

Why ever not Villar

Manny Villar is without doubt cunning, skilful, intelligent, even more than GMA.’
IN the years when FVR was president, a prominent businessman whose name I shall not mention because he is old and ailing was conned by a police character into buying prime real estate right smack along Roxas Boulevard. He was given a torrens title (TCT) and seizing the opportunity to land a bargain, he paid.

When his lawyers went to the Registry of Deeds, they learned that he bought land that belonged to a foundation. In short, the title he had was fake. Police character could no longer be found. So my friend peddled the property to a big Chinese businessman, whose shipping and airline empire based abroad was as big as big could ever be. The Chinese businessman wanted to put up a hotel, and nothing could beat a view of the Manila Bay for a luxury hotel. His Philippine representatives paid the Filipino businessman for what seemed a bargain at the time. But when the Chinaman’s lawyers went to have the torrens title transferred, they learned the awful truth --- it was fake.

Genuine taipan (bigger than Lucio Tan and Money Villarroyo combined) however developed a friendship with one who would become president of the Philippines. And indeed, when Erap became president, the Chinaman expressed interest in investing heavily in the country, proposing, among others, a huge container seaport and an international airport in Sangley at the tip of Cavite. But could his friend Erap please help him recover his losses for buying a property with a fake title? And Erap tried, but as far as I know, the Filipino businessman would not relent. The Chinaman refused to have anything to do with the Philippines, other than as an occasional port of call for his ships and landing his jets at the NAIA every now and then for the paltry business they get from budget travellers to the US of A.


Now what happens when the people of these benighted islands elect a man who has: (1) converted prime irrigated ricelands into subdivisions without getting the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and instead fix the local government units to get his permits (against the CARP law); (2) use government monies either from his pork barrel allocations or his "insertions" to finance the building of roads that would connect the subdivisions he has since converted (abuse of power for personal gain); (3) causes a planned major metropolitan thoroughfare to be re-aligned/relocated, so that the new road would traverse properties that belonged to his family corporations (again, abuse of power for personal gain); (4) allocate funds in the budget so that the Republic of the Philippines will buy his properties for road rights-of-way for lands that will be utilized for the road that he had caused to be re-aligned (punishable under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; plunder if the amount involved is more than 50 million pesos); (5) wastes the money already paid by the Republic for land already purchased for road right-of-way because of the re-alignment of the road (abuse of power once again; betrayal of the public trust); (6) causes the BIR, the DPWH and whatever other government agency to value his properties at three to four times higher than adjoining properties, and getting either paid for, or still awaiting collectibles from the purse of the Republic (profiteering at the expense of the taxpayers of the Republic)?

There’s more.

What would you think of a man who presents himself to the people as the next "savior" of the benighted, particularly the poor from where he claims to have sprung, who upon the other hand, purchases and/or produces through layers of corporate veneer, spurious titles to hectares upon hectares of land (estafa; falsification of public documents); pawns the same to his family-owned bank (against the General Banking Act, as amended, which prohibits self-dealing, also called DOSRI loans) which in turn borrows huge sums of money from the Republic, and specifically, the bank of all banks, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, using the same fake titles as collateral (I am running out of legal violations and certainly have lost track of wilful violations of the moral law); and worse, in the process effectively grabs the land of poor and penniless farmers, mostly less-educated "katutubo", whose forefathers through several generations have tilled the land, and who have been awarded by a just and responsible Republic original certificates of title to their land? (Heartless!)

How could you consider a man who wants to be president of this country, who spends obscene amounts of money, billions upon billions, in advertisements peddling fake but embellished claims, the better to fool a gullible voting public (paano babawiin iyan?) and who openly declared that "If you don’t have one billion (to begin with), why run for president at all" (yabang!) and whose fabulous wealth can be traced to a housing empire financed by government through the NHMFC, supported by GSIS and SSS and whatever other infusions of monies of the Republic, who sponsors legislation to tap all kinds of revenue sources to re-capitalize and replenish the money of government housing agencies, so they can pay him for houses he sold, again financed by Pag-Ibig? When his business acumen fails him, or perhaps his desire to get fabulously rich in such a fabulously short period of time catches up with his reckless and imprudent business adventurism, passes on the burden of rehabilitation to government, uses his power and influence, as Congressman, as Speaker (all of nine years), then senator (all of eight years and counting, three of which were as Senate President, and prior to that, as Senate President Pro-Tempore and Chairman of the supra-powerful Committee on Finance), and profiting much, much more, and when his "rehabilitation" is done and its strange manipulations hidden under the rug, goes to the Philippine Stock Exchange and cashes in through an IPO that, according to his chief apostle cum apologist, Alan Peter Cayetano, netted him and his Vista Land 23 billion pesos, more than enough to finance a campaign where he buys media through a limitless advertising budget (thanks in part to those dolts who run the Comelec), and buys "free" media even more, from reporters to desk men (and women), so that bad news could be "killed" and good news about him purveyed by his lying spokespersons can be "magnified" so that he becomes like a "skin whitener" or a "beauty" product, peddled to the gullible and the shallow?

Why can’t the poor understand the legal and moral implications of C-5? Because paid "free" media makes certain it is the Villar soundbytes that get prominence in the news. Because few even bother to explain what ought to be their duty as journalists, which is the truth … the truth. Why aren’t the print and broadcast media, again save for a few, bothering to take up the plight of poor Dumagat farmers robbed of their land titles because of a deal hatched between the corporations of Manny and Cynthia Villar and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas using fake land titles? Isn’t it our responsibility as the "powerful" Fourth Estate to expose anomalies, to check abuses of the other "estates", to uphold the law, to help the poor and the under-privileged, most certainly the victims of abuse by powerful men and powerful institutions?


Now the Magdalo, whose cause I believe in, whose unjust suffering I commiserate with, officially supports the candidacy of Manny Villar for president of this benighted land, because of his "competence, character and vision".

And their spokesman, a fine former lieutenant of the Air Force, adds that behind this decision is a "man-to-man" talk between Villar and Trillanes.

Now let me tell you this: Sometime in early November 2009, I visited Senator Sonny Trillanes in his cramped detention cell. This was not my first visit; there had been several in the past. We were discussing the viability of the presidential run of young Chiz Escudero, given his paucity of financial resources, an affliction that also visited another common friend, Ping Lacson. The conversation drifted to C-5 and the Senate investigation of the same. I bewailed the lack of a coherent communication plan among the senators to inform the public, given that Manny Villar had practically "bought" many in media.

I almost fell off my monobloc chair when Senator Trillanes told me (there were five of us in the room), that (and I quote from memory) "Ganyan naman daw ang kalakaran…nag-explain sa akin si Manny dito…ganyan din naman daw ang ginagawa ni Enrile sa Cagayan)".

I did not argue at the time, because the matter was extraneous to the reason why we were there in the first place, and because our time was limited. If I had had the chance of a one-on-one, I would have explained, argument after argument, and not in the presence of one who was related to Juan Ponce Enrile, and who may have felt slighted by the reference to her kin.

But Senator Trillanes reads, and reads voraciously. Senator Trillanes is a very intelligent man. When everybody thought he was a quixotic choice for senator of the realm, I personally sponsored his inclusion in the Genuine Opposition ticket in 2007, and I was mightily pleased when he won against all odds. Hence you could understand how crushed I was by his defense of Manny Villar --- "Ganyan…ang kalakaran". And I thought we were fighting for what was right, against what was wrong; against what is evil, and for what is good.

Villar was never a Tondo poor boy

THE MARCH 7 ARTICLE ON Manny Villar’s house along Moriones Street in Tondo confirmed the belief that he was never poor, never spent his Christmas on the street and never swam in a pool of garbage. In the early 1960s, if you had a three-story house in a 60-square-meter lot in the business district of Tondo, you were considered an aristocrat.

Not too far from that Moriones house were shanties leading to the pier where children went to the nearby public schools for education. Such was not the case of Villar: he went to Holy Child Catholic School for his elementary education and to Mapua for high school. Coming from Moriones going to Mapua, Villar had to pass by three outstanding public high schools: Jose Abad Santos High School, Arellano High School and Teodora Agoncillo High School, and public schools in the latter part of the 1950s and 1960s were at their best.

But not for the Villar children. Because their father was a white-collar employee and they had a businesswoman for a mother, Manny and his siblings were able to study in the best private schools nearby. They had corned beef for breakfast (as told in Villar’s ad with Boy Abunda) and I am pretty sure suahe and other seafoods for lunch or dinner.

During the times that Villar claimed he was poor, his family actually belonged to the AB and upper C economic strata or the top 10 percent of the population. As in the C-5 controversy, in the conversion of agricultural land in Iloilo, in the landgrabbing of the Dumagats’ land in Norzagaray and his questionable use of socialized housing funds among many others, Villar shows a penchant for covering the truth.

I hope television’s investigative journalists can dig deeper into this so the poor people who are being used will find out the truth.


Source :

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joker Arroyo replies

Calling A Spade... -- By Solita Collas-Monsod

Joker Arroyo replies

Fair’s fair. Last week’s column asked, "Will the Real Joker Arroyo Please Stand Up?" This week is devoted to the reply of Senator Arroyo, who signs himself "Real Joker." And whose letter was dated the day after my column appeared, and delivered by hand. Let the reader know that Joker and I go back a long way -- we were neighbors when I was in elementary school and he was in the UP College of Law. Plus I have the highest respect and greatest affection for his wife Fely.

"Dear Winnie,

"Thank you for devoting your entire column of February 4th 2010 to me. As you had urged, I hasten to stand up like a reproached pupil being asked to provide answers.

"Yes, on August 17, 1998 or 11 years ago, I delivered a privilege speech against Speaker Villar. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of what you quoted.

"This happened during the 11th Congress -- July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001.

"My speech was referred to the Committee on Rules chaired by Rep Mar Roxas, then the Majority Leader.

"As I recall, the Secretary of the Rules Committee approached me days after the referral and advised me something like this -- "Sir, the Committee cannot act on this. The jurisdiction of the committee (of the 11th Congress) covers acts committed by members during the life of the 11th Congress, that is, from July 1, 1998 up to Jue 30, 2001. Your charges are alleged acts of the Speaker before July (1998). By inference, the Committee Secretary was saying that I was procedurally wrong, that the committee could not take cognizance of my charges because they were acts allegedly committed before the onset of the 11th Congress.

"I assumed that Mar Roxas, then the Chairman of the Committee on Rules, did not have the heart to tell me I was out of line, hence he dispatched his committee secretary to do the job.

"I do not know how the Rules Committee disposed of my charges nor did I feel right to press it after my attention was called that I was procedurally wrong. It was for me a lesson on parliamentary rules.

"11 years later, Sen. Lacson rehashed and read my old House speech on the Senate floor to lend support to his expanded allegations against Sen. Villar involving the putative C-5 double insertion. "What he did was to resuscitate what the House had possibly archived.

"You ask why I proposed in 1998 the creation of a House Committee of the Whole to try then Speaker Villar and yet I opposed a Senate Committee of the Whole to try Senator Villar in 2009.

"Simple. Because the ground rules were different. Had the House Committee of the Whole been constituted the then existing Rules of the House Ethics Committee would have governed the proceedings.

"Not in the Senate. The Senate Committee of the Whole dispensed with the existing Rules of the Senate Ethics Committee and with unbecoming haste, formulated an entirely new set of rules tailor-made for Villar.

"This so infuriated Sen. Kiko Pangilinan -- how rules made in April 2009 could be given retroactive effect to govern the investigation of Mr. Villar for his conduct from 1995 to 2008. Please note that in that same set of new rules, there was no penalty prescribed. It was left open-ended.

"The new rules were unabashed ex-post facto, hence constitutionally prohibited.

"How about the contents of my 1998 privilege speech. The House Rules Committee wrote finis to it and I acquiesced to its inadmissibility.

"I cannot now turn around like a top and use it anew.

"We insisted that the Fourteenth Congress of either House has no power to investigate a member for alleged transgressions committed in the Thirteenth, the Twelfth, or Eleventh Congress and so on.

"But here is the rub. When this controversy started, we were only six who opposed the Senate move to proceed with the investigation. Ranged against us were Villar’s political opponents, namely Liberals -- Roxas, Noynoy, Biazon (whose son Ruffy is a senatorial candidate); Erap’s PMP President Enrile, senatorial candidate Sen. Jinggoy; unaffiliated presidential candidates Chiz, Gordon, Lacson and Jamby -- all nine of them.

"Villar was dead meat right off the bat. They had 16, the 2/3 vote required under the Constitution to suspend or expel. But when they prepared the Committee Report, the anti-Villar group admitted that they had lost the 16. The concluding paragraph reads:

"’The committee of the whole notes that..x x x x It is cognizant of the reality that although it finds that the respondent should be meted out the penalties of either suspension or expulsion from the Senate, the number of votes required for such sanctions may have been rendered unattainable.’

"And by curtain time for the grand finale in the afternoon of February 3, there were only 11 of them, not even enough for a quorum. They beat a hasty retreat by adjourning abruptly although our legislative calendar says we should adjourn on February 6th.

"I trust that with these, you will not send me to the corner to stand and face the wall.

"All the best and regards to Cris.

"Very sincerely

"Real Joker" (signed)

I appreciate the effort Joker makes to explain his side to me. And maybe that is the real Joker standing up. But it certainly doesn’t sound like the Joker I knew.

The Joker I knew wouldn’t have had an employee of the House stop him in his tracks by merely saying that Joker was procedurally wrong because his charges covered alleged acts of Villar before July 1998. The Joker I knew would have stopped the fellow short and told him to read his speech again, particularly the part where he says: "Nor has Speaker Villar up to now, I am saying up to now, divested his connections with the companies aforestated. Speaker Villar is in no hurry to divest because he has declared that he is under no obligation to do so. A continuing violation." (Emphasis supplied.)

More importantly, the Joker I knew would not allow technicalities to get in the way of the truth. He would not have just lost interest in the proceedings after a mere secretary of a committee told him he was wrong. The reader would not have failed to notice that Joker, in his letter, ignored totally the issue of whether his charges were valid or not -- and focused on whether the charges could be taken cognizance of by a committee or not. Did Joker the Filipino citizen get trumped by Joker the easily intimidated lawyer? Since when did Joker get intimidated by anybody?

And speaking about getting in the way of the truth -- Joker’s version of how the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted its rules (i.e., that "it dispensed with the existing rules of the House Ethics Committee, and with unbecoming haste formulated an entirely new set of rules tailor-made for Villar) does not jibe with Johnny Ponce Enrile’s version -- but I will look at the Senate records to find out exactly what happened, so I can report on it.

I guess the bottom line here, Joker, is, at the time you made those charges against Villar, had you done your homework and believed in their accuracy? And if you did, have you changed your mind since then? If so, why? That’s all that the public really wants to know.

Let’s make it even simpler: In your opinion, did Villar use his influence and position as a legislator to benefit financially from government contracts and loans?